Tony Soprano as management icon

by Chris Bertram on January 5, 2004

Lucy Kellaway in the _Financial Times_ (my favourite columnist but subscribers only) reveals that:

bq. A new year and a new type of management hero: Tony Soprano, foul-mouthed, bullying mob boss from the telly. Tony has just had a leadership book written about him, putting him on a par with Queen Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, General George S. Patton, Moses, Sven-Goran Eriksson and Jesus, all of whom have been sucked dry for their last management lesson. But with _Leadership Sopranos Style_ , Deborrah Himsel has taken the genre into fictional territory for the first time (that is if one gives Moses the benefit of the doubt). Ms Himsel, whose day job is vice-president of organisational effectiveness at Avon Products, explains her unusual choice of subject as follows: “Tony’s . . . results orientation and empathy are certainly at the heart of his leadership gestalt.”



Mr Spectator 01.05.04 at 10:01 am

Next up, David Brent.


Merkin 01.05.04 at 12:41 pm

Sorry for a completely off-topic comment but I’m curious whether you watched Christopher Hitchens’ Ch.4 doc last night on Texas. It was a complete waste of time, a total muddle. He seemed at times mocking of the most extreme redneck tendencies (though even with them it wasn’t at all clear what if anything he thought), at other times not a little in awe of the Texas machismo and suburban rich white lifestyle. I don’t know why I don’t just ignore the ass/arse.

[Yes, watched it. I was disappointed too. CB]


Matt Weiner 01.05.04 at 3:02 pm

Surely this isn’t the first time that genre’s gone into fictional territory? Anyway she missed one of my favorites, Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, apparently a huge influence on H. Ross Perot.


Zizka 01.05.04 at 4:31 pm

Didn’t read the Attila book, but the management secrets of Genghis Khan can be known. In sum: “Cultivate a reputation for generosity, loyalty, and fairness while arranging for the death of every ally who might sometime be able to challenge you.” He could have taught Macchiavelli lessons.

Title of the book: “800 Wives and None of Them Bitch”.


Matt Weiner 01.05.04 at 4:37 pm

Oh, I didn’t read the Attila book either. It’s just the title, completely po-faced apparently, that’s one of my favorites.


David Weman 01.05.04 at 6:26 pm

I’d say business leaders emulate Tony Soprano too much already…


Kevin Brennan 01.05.04 at 7:03 pm

Definitely not the first time. There’s 8

Jeffrey Kramer 01.06.04 at 7:50 am

May we generally conclude, then, that the managers of our great global enterprises are men who choose their guidebooks the way seven-year-olds choose their lunch boxes? (“I’ve got Tony Soprano!” “Neat! I’ve got Worf!”)


Bill Jenkins 01.23.04 at 10:14 pm

Tony Soprano on Mangement, another book on the subject, by entrepreneur Anthony Schneider(Berkley Books, February), takes a slightly different approach: Tony S. is a great role model who loves his team, has a great corporate vision, knows how to build enthusiasm, and work efficiently. Carmela makes an appearance (managing up) and, to mollify the FT and others, there’s a chapter on what Uncle T. does wrong. If he’s good, we can learn from him, fictional or not, perfect or not.

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